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Lowndes Secures Favorable Ruling in Dispute Regarding Affordable Housing Project

December 01, 2022

Lowndes has secured a pivotal fair housing ruling for client Wendover Housing Partners in a proceeding involving the City of Apopka. Earlier this week, Judge Thompson, Senior Judge for the Orange County Circuit Court, found that it was a violation of the Florida Fair Housing Act for a city to impose restrictions on the development of housing based upon the financing of that housing. The Florida Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in land use decisions and the permitting of development based upon the source of financing of the development or the proposed development.

In a case of first impression, Judge Thompson found the City of Apopka’s restriction that required residential multi-family be rented at market rate and be non-subsidized was a violation of that section of the Florida Fair Housing Act. The City’s restriction, if lawful, would have prohibited affordable housing from being developed on the property because such housing is developed utilizing financing sources that limit the amount of rent that is charged to its tenants.

In his ruling, Judge Thompson enjoined the City from enforcing the restriction thus allowing affordable housing to be developed on the property.

Wendover was represented by litigation attorney Rebecca Rhoden.

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Rebecca Rhoden focuses on commercial litigation, land use litigation, litigation relating to the Fair Housing Act, eDiscovery, appellate law and family and marital law.

In her practice, Rebecca routinely represents private and public clients in matters including commercial, land use, trade secrets, employment, breach of contract, commerce clause, and divorce and prenuptial agreement disputes, among others.

Rebecca has provided developers and clients with legal counsel and representation in Section 70.51 mediations. Her experience in land use and environmental dispute resolutions offers a unique benefit to clients navigating the alternative dispute resolution process following denial of a development order, zoning approval and other land use matters around the state.

Prior to joining Lowndes, Rebecca practiced in New York City with a large international firm, primarily in the area of securities litigation.

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